Totally Torn

So even with everything that has been going on the last few days, I still went to my nutrition appointment for the week. And again, I have made “progress.”

I left the office feeling quite torn.

I know my weight now, which surprisingly did not impact me as negatively as I would have anticipated.

Yes, it is a way higher number than I am used to allowing body to be, but I am trying to look at the positives and I am not TOO far away from the point where Ryan and I agreed I could start jogging.

I know what you all are thinking…

“CJ, give it up on the gosh darn jogging.”

But honestly, I have a much better attitude about the sport, and it is no longer about the caloric burn but the challenge for my body and the sheer boredom of walking pretty much every day.

Not to mention, I love the thrill of competing against myself. I miss that little adrenalin rush and I am seriously looking forward to getting it back.

Runners out there, I know you know what I am talking about.

Anyway, so here is my “dilemma.”

I have to gain weight regardless of how fast it happens. My nutritionist, Ryan and myself all “agreed” upon a healthy place, where my body will function properly and it pretty much stands as non-negotiable. Scratch that, it is absolutely NON-NEGOTIABLE.

Right now I am chosing to gain a the slowest rate any professional would probably allow, and I was doing so because I felt I couldn’t handle a faster progression, but lately, there have been things that made me question whether or not I should try to speed up the process?

Obviously not at a ridiculously fast pace, but a more reasonable outpatient rate that would possibly get me to my goals; health, running, FREEDOM, etc. in a more timely fashion that next June.

I have to admit, my motive is not one hundred percent pure. I would LOVE to be able to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. That is setting my sites super-duper high and the likelihood of it happening are pretty slim, but I am the kind of person that needs tangible motivation.

I can’t really see the internal benefits that are occurring from my weight gain. I certainly feel them and am very happy, but it’s not really a measurable way to determine progress.

I get sick of people focusing on a scale number, but in reality it is a way to help gauge the status of one’s health (please do not mistake this for being the ONLY way).

But I need a goal, and success should be rewarded in some sense. A race, and obviously a mini-getaway since I am totally ambitious to run another Disney race, seems like a pretty awesome prize.

So I am torn as far as if I should increase my meal plan and shoot for such a lofty goal….any thoughts?

Similarly, I mentioned my outlook on running has changed. And it has, immensely.

A few months ago I did not believe in walk breaks.

No way. Walk breaks were weak in my silly eating disordered brain, but after reading a bunch of article and the training plan published by Jeff Galloway, i realized how silly that notion was.

Walking is awesome! Yes I get bored doing it every single day, but your body does need rest! 13 miles is an incredible distance for your body to endure. I am sure there are plenty of people who can run the entire thing and for that I commend them, because that is quite a feat! But if I am lucky enough to participate in a half, ever in my lifetime, walk breaks are totally appropriate.

In fact, if the Princess half was in my future, I would not really have a time in mind for when I would like to finish. I have put my body through a tremendous amount of stress in the last few years and I should celebrate the fact that it still allows me to incorporate physical activity into my life. I would be proud just to say I finished, healthily, happily and wholly.

What are your thoughts on both these subjects?

Is there shame in walking during a race?

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30 thoughts on “Totally Torn

  1. I’m a runner and I see no shame in walking during a race. I’ve done it a few times, although I did run my whole half pretty much (my pace was less than a ten minute mile). But yeah, nothing wrong with the occasional walk break, I do it quite often in training runs. Plus if you’re running a Disney type race, you’re not going to want to go fast because those are more about the experience than getting a PR.

    And there are TONS of walkers at Disney races too. I mean people who aren’t even there to run but there to walk. I’d definitely shoot for it!

    • Thanks Amy! I think I am going to. Ive run a few disney 5ks and you are right, they are totally not abou a time record…more about the fun and experience. This 1/2 would to be celebrate that my body is finally healthy enough to participate in activity! so id just try to focus on that. i appreciate your feedback!

  2. There is 100% no shame in walking during a race. But in all honestly love, and from personal experience, I wasn’t even allowed to exercise at all until I got up to my doctor’s “healthy weight” when I was having my period on my own. And that sucked. But it was more motivation to get back to where I was exercising because my body was strong and getting stronger, and one of the things that motivates me to stay healthy now is that I love seeing how much my body can do when it’s being fueled properly and at a healthy place.

    Obviously your decisions are between you, your doctor, and ryan. And I will love you no matter what. But I KNOW how awesome of a person you are and I think you deserve health and happiness more than anyone. So YES shoot for that disney half, but shoot to be at your goal healthy weight by then! And then do it as a celebration of recovery!!

    Email me those questions – I want to catch up and chat! LOVE YOU!

    • Ahhhh Clare, thank you so much for writing this to Ceejay! I haven’t commented at all these past couple of weeks because quite honestly, I’ve been too worried about you, Ceejay. Lord knows I’m not 100% recovered and we’ll see if I ever get to that place. But physcially speaking it took me a long time to get to my healthy weight (in fact, I just met it). But NEVER throughout this long journey was I allowed to, by myself or my treatment team, to do exercise any more than 1/2 hour slow walk 3 days a week… despite however high my meal plan was (often upwards of 4,000 cal.). I don’t want this to come across as criticism, babe… just complete concern and worry for your safety. I have so much faith and love for you and miss you so much after hls… but I don’t fully support your nutritionists guidelines and endorsement of even the amount of activity you do (NEVER would it have been acceptable for me to do a 2 hr. zumba class, not even now that im on maintenance unless i were to double my meal plan!) The only reason I point this out (and again, this is not to be harsh at all, but from a place of love and hope for you life and happiness) This is such a scary disease, one that brought be waaaaayyy to close to death and i never want you to get there. youre heart can’t take it no matter how great it feels. once you get to a healthy weight and mindset you should TOTALLY shoot for that half like clare said, but as a celebration. I know you often say you simply “cannot” not be active, but I think thats a scapegoat, quite honestly, and sadly something that ED has instilled in you. It will be so tough at first. but your life is worth it. Please forgive me if this comes across the wrong way. I would rather say this to you up front than with mutual friends of ours who worry about you and your safety. If you cant do it for yourself, do it for ryan… your mom… or the rest of us who want to spend the rest of our lives friends with you. We all love you and know that you can beat this thing, darling!!!!
      xoxoxo mare

      • Mary Ann! I am so happy to hear from you girl! How are you? And I absolutely do not take anything you say as offensive and i understand that my treatment plan is a tad unorthodox. you are my friend and I completely underestand that you are looking out for my best interest. Can we catch up? Maybe I can send you an e-mail or something so we can talk a bit further? I had such a great time with you at HLS and you are seriously only a train ride away from me. I hope all is well with you!!!

  3. Hey hun,

    I would seriously consider increasing your meal plan, BUT only a little bit at a time. I know how well you are doing, so you want to be able to keep progressing without getting too overwhelmed. I would say to add an extra item or two and see how you feel/or if it helps you a gain a little faster. However, I know how much you want to run and achieve such a great goal, so as long as you are happy with the rate of progress you make, I say the more power to ya girly. Keep doing what your doing, and it is GREAT if you up your meal plan a bit at a time 🙂 ❤ ILOVEYOUSOOMUCH!

    "If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, You are right."

  4. CJ, I really feel like your last 2 posts speak my mind exactly. Email me if you want to talk. I think I could “talk” forever to you about these 2 posts. (Only I’m way far off from jogging.I feel that will never happen!).

    • its so good to hear from you! i was wondering how you have been the last few weeks! e-mail me if you need anything! or with an update. I always love hearing from you.

  5. I totally agree with the above comments! And I am in a very similar place! Increasing your meal plan could be the exact motivation you need to be able to run that race and realize that you need to properly fuel your body so you can finish the race and feel healthy and most importantly not get injured!
    I know it won’t be easy but I agree, I love running and love working out but doing it for the right reasons was really hard to overcome! I think you are so strong and you will definitely be able to start increasing your meal plan so you can reach your goals! You will not only feel stronger but so much healthier! Love you girl xoxo I’ll email you later on! 🙂

  6. Hi CJ,

    (Apologies in advance for the long post.)

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now but haven’t posted yet. I relate to a lot of things you write and find your blog very inspiring. It is clear you’ve come very far in your recovery. Keep up the AMAZING work!!

    Today I felt inspired to comment because this post really hit home with me.

    I have been in recovery from anorexia for the last two years and was a former endurance athlete and distance runner. Like you, I was told I needed to reach X weight before I could again engage in activities I once loved. Desperate to run/cycle/swim again I gained weight quickly. I started to train again and then, I’ll be honest, I relapsed. The relapse wasn’t physically awful to overcome, but mentally it was extremely difficult. I found the more I was allowed to be active the more the “all or nothing” portion of my brain – the parts my ED loves – took over.

    I had just regained some “intuitive” sense of my hunger signals, prior to regaining the right to train, and was pretty consistent at honoring them. I found that exercise, especially anything strenuous/endurance, dampened my bodies ability to interpret my hunger signals. I began to lose weight again; I just wasn’t hungry.

    I worked with my nutritionist and I am now responsible about replacing calories spent on physical activity. (I was told to loosely track calories, something I wasn’t allowed to do before because it was determined to be a contributing factor to my ED in the first place.) I am now faced with logging the 10 mile run, and logging the (roughly) 1000 calories I ate to compensate for it. I have been able to maintain my weight with this technique, however have lost the ability to “eat intuitively” to some degree.

    Do I allow my natural hunger signals to control my eating? No.
    Do I eat things I crave even through they aren’t “good foods”? Yes.
    It’s all about balance. Give and take. Decisions, decisions …

    Be careful. Please consider if you’re really ready, mentally and physically, to eat the amount of food you’ll need to eat to maintain your weight while still gaining weight and replace burnt calories through running. Training for a Half Marathon is no small feat. Go slow and be honest with yourself in the process. Maybe start with training for a shorter race where you can run FASTER vs. longer to feed your competitive side and cut down on “calorie loss” would be a smart first move? Or how about assembling a relay team for the Disney Half? An amazing race experience and you get the camaraderie of your team mates?

    Baby steps. As you said yourself, you felt the safest way for you to recover was with a slow weight gain. Pursue your running goals just as slowly and cautiously. It is ALSO part of the recovery process. Don’t loose sight of that like I did.

    I trust whatever decision you make will be the right one for you!

    • Diana, thank you for taking the time to write such a heartfelt post, especially since all your knowledge is coming from a very similar situation. i have a lot of things i need to consider before i make any desicion about a “race,” especially evaluating my reasoning behind it, etc. my mom suggested today that we walk it together since the cause is actually something pretty close to our hearts; it raises awareness and money for lymphoma, which is what my uncle passed away of a few years ago.
      thank you again for all your wisdom! i will be re-reading this many times in the next few months!

      • And I will be reading your blog over and over again 😀

        Walking together with you mom sounds like an amazing idea! I didn’t know the race was a lymphoma fund raiser, that’s outstanding! Sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle to the disease, I also lost (oddly enough) an uncle to lymphoma.

      • I agree so much with what Diana and Mary Ann wrote… going through recovery myself and knowing my obsession with exercise, I was doing SO great at the beginning of recovery when I completely cut out exercise — I hope you remember the emails I had sent you describing my situation and progress. I knew that exercise would be off limits while I was recovering because not only did I need to gain weight (REAL pounds, not the imaginary expanding waist line type stuff), but I knew if I allowed myself even a smidgen of exercise, it would be giving into my ed… and I would be back where I started — always making excuses to burn more calories than I take in.

        Although I’m not saying you’re dishonest, (from my own experience) I think you are reaching for excuses that you hope will allow you to give in just a TAD bit into your ed because then you won’t feel so completely out of your comfort zone and will have at least SOME part of your ed to cling to… perfectly understandable and relatable. But healthy? No. Helpful? Not at all.

        I know how you feel because I’m there RIGHT NOW. Remember that I gave up exercise? For what seemed like forever to me! And I gave in to cravings and essentially felt free for those few months. But recently, I’ve been overwhelmed with stress, and all it took was one trip to the gym in a heated fury, running on the treadmill, and it hooked me again. I’m beginning to calculate calories again… worrying that I’m not active enough and will keep gaining and gaining… it d oesn’t consume me as much as before, but it’s definitely there. “It’s okay though, I mean, I’m at a healthy weight, so I can handle the exercise,” is what I’m telling people (and myself!). But deep down, and it’s so shameful to admit, I *know* that I’m trying to lose a couple of pounds because I’m still getting used to my new body. I STILL have irrational fears of blowing up like a balloon if I don’t work out x amount of times… and really, I didn’t have these thoughts nearly as much when I DIDN’T allow myself any exercise before! (I felt free then, remember?! I hate that I gave in to this tricky mindset balancing the weight of food on exercise!)

        So… *sigh* sorry for the long message, but I’m just trying to show you that although I know you want to recover and have been doing some pretty major things that I commend you on, from my own experience I feel that you’re just so fearful of not being “active enough” that unless you truly give your body a rest and experience recovery the PURE way (no “exercise allowances”), you’ll be going in circles forever. “I ate this much today, but… I guess it’s okay because I walked this much…” “Phew, got a Zumba workout in so I guess it’s okay that I’m eating this pretty loaded lunch right now…”

        The more you DONT give in, the easier it gets. The more you do give in (just as I did by going ONCE to the gym), it just reels you back in further and further…

      • As always jess, thank you for your honesty. I definitely see your point on the dangers of exercise and I’m just trying to be honest in my posts that I m gaining weight, I am eating enough, but yes I am still being physically active. That’s tough for a lot of ppl to read especially those who don’t because they feel it’s best for progress. I never lie to my treatment team and have made tremendous strides in my relationship with physical activity. Is it feeding into my disorder? Maybe but I feel I am doing very well. I will definitely ponder and reflect on your comment because you have helped me so much in the past. I hope you don’t feel I’m being disrespectful in any way; just trying to express back my feelings. My reasons for exercise really are not about losing weight… It’s about toning at this point and because I find it relaxing some days to walk, and incredibly fun to dance with my friends (it reminds me of cheering in college) maybe that’s wrong n not the “right” way to recover. But my body is gaining actual healthy weight, my labs are on point and my attitude is so much better.
        Again, thanks for your opinion. I hope you didn’t think I was being disrespectful.

    • Wow. If Jessica or Diana want to chat with me via email that would also be great. They can just let me know their email address maybe? I’d love to chat about this because I’m NOT exercising at all (and its been over 3 years) and I’m heartbroken.

      • honey, feel free to email me too. I’m more recovered than I ever thought possible, but Im still not exercising for fear of relapse. All it takes is a single “give in” moment, much like an alcoholic with a sip of alcohol. Ive been through a lot. But I’ve gotten so far and couldn’t be happier. I’m not about to ruin this streak or my LIFE by jeopardizing my health. I’m not entirely sure you (ceejay) see the risks in what you are doing. I dont know if by “eating enough” you truly are to gain (despite what you claim the scale says). Again, I know this sounds harsh, but there is a reason ryan, you mom, me, friends and “blends” look at you and speak to you with such worry. The littlest bits of ED, the tiniest ways that maybe you dont even realize you are carrying him with you through recovery is a very scary thing, love. I myself went through a very “unorthodox” manner of recovery. A lot of things that my inpatient had me do, differed from how I got better. But the basics are all the same. I had a holistic nutritionist who also worked with a registered dietician. the rd was strict but necessary. Theres no way to get better when ED has ANY say in the matter. Trust me, I’ve tried the slow-go comfortable recovery route and it simply wont last or sustain itself enough to get you out of this hell that is an eating disorder. IT WILL BE HARD!!! it has to be. BUT IT WILL BE BEYOND WORTH IT!! LIFE IS SOOOO BEAUTIFUL. Low self-esteem and constant food and exercise thoughts are useless and you will regret them. I dont want you to have regrets. I want you to laugh and play and love your husband, your family, YOURSELF. Rant over. love you more than you know, ceejay.

      • Hi , Mary Ann…I can’t see your email address….I’d love to send you an email. If you,,,,Jessica…Diana??? want to give me your e-mail addresses that would be SO HELPFUL…thanks!!. They don’t show up here on the screeen.

      • Hey! My email address is jess.turner@yahoo.com and if for some reason it doesn’t show up, it’s jess(dot)turner(at)yahoo(dot)com.

        I too have found it very frustrating to COMPLETELY cut out exercise because it makes you feel like an invalid when you’re not (especially if you’re weight restored like I am), so I do believe in a healthy balance, but I just got worried for CJ’s sake that perhaps it’s too early in the process for her to have it be a big part of her life (too early meaning not just that she might not be weight restored, but mentally might be still addicted to exercise for its calorie-burning success and whatnot). So it’s just a really fine line and of course, no one can expect to recover perfectly… I know I’m far from perfect as well!

        But anyway, yes, feel free to contact me! 🙂

        -Jess

  7. Good discussion! I think there is no shame in walking during a race. I used to believe that until I trained for my first half marathon. I pressured myself so much…to the point of injury! I think that if your goal is just to finish, to do something good for yourself, then there is no problem with walking during a race. It took me a long time to come to that realization though!

  8. I am definitely NOT thinking “give it up on the jogging”…at all. I think that deciding you shouldn’t jog/run EVER, just because you used to abuse it, is a very pessimistic and disordered limitation. It’s much, much healthier to be able to jog/run and enjoy it in moderation and for the RIGHT reasons than to ban it forever!

    As far as the weight gain goes, I think you need to really think about it for yourself. Will you be able to handle gaining at a faster rate? If you HONESTLY think you can, go for it. But if you question your ability to deal with it, then play it safe. You don’t want to risk the progress you’ve made just because you’re feeling impatient. 🙂

  9. First, I think it’s great that you are working with a nutritionist to you gain weight. I also hope you’re talking to a therapist to help because gaining weight and getting healthier kinda sucks. I didn’t work with anyone. And because I was terrified of being hospitalized, I pretty much gained the weight overnight which destroyed me emotionally. I think that you should really think long and hard about how fast you want to gain weight and the real reason why you want to run. The slower you gain weight, the more time you will mentally be able to adjust. And trust me, it’s key to help you recover permanently. ED does a bunch of crazy stuff to our heads and sometimes it’s difficult to separate ED from our selves. I just want to see you happy and healthy. And it’s okay to take the long road, you’ll learn more about yourself on the journey! Mucho internet hugs. And shoot me an email if you ever need to chat.

    • Oh yes I go to a therapist and my husband and I attend marriage counseling. It’s been very helpful! And the quicker weight gain theoretically wouldonly bump it about 1/4 of a pound more a week… Nothing too major 🙂 thanks girl for your feedback. It’s nice to gear from people who understand.

  10. And not to rub it in or anything, but:
    “My husband is the my rational voice. After 3 hours of zumba on saturday for a breast cancer fundraiser, he was the one who had to tell me it was ok that my appetite was raging. I couldnt possibly fathom, even though i just danced for three hours, that my body might be a smidge more hungry than normal.”

    You’re clearly still not okay with eating more to make up for your demanding physical routines, so I’m just really worried that everyone around you is falling for your pleas to allow you to run again… You obviously have issues surrounding exercise, food, and calories, and the whole point of recovery is not just to gain some weight back that was unhealthily lost, but it’s changing your ENTIRE outlook on EVERYTHING in life. If you were forced to give up zumba for a week and go to the movies instead of a zumba class, you would probably feel like you would go crazy, right? Be honest. It’s hard to admit, but I totally understand it. Like I said above, I’m at the point right now again! And it sucks! I want to lead a normal life where I don’t feel like a criminal and don’t hate myself for not being super active every single day. I hope you do too :\

  11. Just read all your reply comments (have been away from the computer for a miraculous almost 24 hours! haha) and wanted to let you know that again, I hope you didn’t take things the wrong way (which I don’t think you did!). I’m glad you’re truthful with your recovery team because that is soooo important.

    Keep up the good work :]

    • Hey girl! I’m actually at Disney world ENJOYING the food and wine festival! So I’m very sorry if my responses are a bit slow 🙂 photos to come soon!

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